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Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Using Outlook 2010 with More than One Exchange Account Crashes Regularly

I quite liked the idea of a new feature in Outlook 2010, the ability to use more than one Exchange account at a time. People have been asking for this for years and it looked promising, in the past there was a work-around using virtualization but it was very resource intensive for most people’s machines. Since I ditched Office for Mac 2011 and went back to a Win7 VM on my Mac I thought I would give it a try as I hadn’t tried it out since the early beta builds of Office 2010 – sadly it seems things weren’t much better in the RTM build.

I have a corporate Exchange account, but my own personal email is also hosted on an Exchange server with Fasthosts – who as an aside I can’t really recommend anymore as they are still on Exchange 2003 and don’t seem to have any plans to upgrade the service to 2007, let alone Ex2010 althogh the service has been pretty reliable in the last 4 years I’ve used it.

However, I’ve found using Outlook in this dual-mailbox mode to be incredibly unreliable, it sets up fine – but within a couple of minutes Outlook locks up and becomes unresponsive – this seems to happen mainly when switching between inboxes – I’ve deleted and re-created profiles, .ost’s .pst’s – everything but I just can’t get it to work reliably.

I wonder if anyone out there has managed it – I’m using Windows 7 x64 with Office 2010 x86 (not the x64 version as per MS recommendations) they don’t seem to make much noise about this new feature – maybe this is why.

**Note: your corporate security policy may explicitly say you can’t do this – this is quite reasonable IMHO – I’ve done a lot of Exchange work in the past and whilst the Outlook security model is massively better these days a MAPI-savvy bit of Malware that you bring into Outlook via an external account could still potentially do bad things – remember the ILOVEYOU worm?**

If you want to try it out for yourself you need to totally quit Outlook (it won’t work if you have it open), go into Control panel and find the “mail” control panel applet

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Click E-Mail Accounts

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Click new, and follow the setup wizard, you’ll then have two Exchange accounts in your profile.

Fire up Outlook and once it’s finished “preparing your mailbox for first use” you’ll see two Exchange accounts with calendars, inbox etc. in the folder view of the UI.

However, in my experience that’s as good as it gets.. it locks up shortly after, shame as Office and in particular Outlook 2010 are pretty damned good otherwise – feel free to post your experiences..

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One response to “Using Outlook 2010 with More than One Exchange Account Crashes Regularly

  1. Greg Murphy March 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Must admit I’ve been running two Exchange accounts on Outlook 2010 (x86) on Windows 7 (64-bit) in a Fusion VM on OS X for about 6 months and had no problems whatsoever. Quite a few people I know are running the same configuration but not virtualised, also with no problems.

    Only downside is no consolidated Inbox, which is why I use Mac Mail as my primary client, as that handles two Exchange accounts pretty smoothly too (as long as you don’t have any PSTs)

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